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Brown Leads Record-Setting Day At Gateway

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, September 29 2012

Antron Brown leads Top Fuel qualifiers at Gateway. (File photo courtesy of the NHRA)

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Antron Brown led a record-setting day of qualifying Friday at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis.

Top Fuel driver Brown and the rest of the NHRA teams took advantage of cool fall temperatures in the St. Louis area that led to a parade of track records in all four Full Throttle Series classes.

Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders at the third of six playoff races in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship.

Brown powered his Don Schumacher Racing dragster to a track record performance of 3.737 seconds at 326.79 mph to qualify just in front of his teammate and championship rival Spencer Massey, who was second with a 3.752 at 326.16.

“We made the third-quickest run in history on a track we haven’t ran on in two years, which is a credit to the Gateway staff and the NHRA Safety Safari,” Brown said. “When I stepped on the gas, the car picked up and took off with no hesitation. I felt instant wheel speed. It hunkered down after 60 feet and never stopped accelerating. I took a little peek up at the scoreboard and saw that .73. Underneath my helmet, I was like, ‘Yeah, boy!’ I felt like Flavor Flav. We’re just beside ourselves, and we’re riding that wave.”

Brown and Massey entered the event tied at the top of the Top Fuel standings, but Brown now holds a two-point lead by virtue of his better qualifying effort today.

“This is the way you want to start,” Brown said. “We never ran that quick before. We got pretty much everything out of that run. Hats off to Brian [Corradi] and Mark [Oswald] – our crew chiefs – and our Matco Tools/Aaron’s boys for doing a bang-up job. I’m pretty stoked about it. I’m very blessed to be on this team.”

David Grubnic posted a 3.773 at 317.94 in his Kalitta Motorsports dragster for third overall, while seven-time Top Fuel world champ Tony Schumacher was fourth with a 3.775 at 325.69.

In Funny Car, DSR’s Beckman led the field with a track record time of 4.049 at 308.85.

“The reaction from the three guys who pick me up in the tow vehicle and the rest of the guys in the pits after a run like that makes it all worthwhile,” Beckman said. “I think that tracks get unfairly over- or underrated simply based on the numbers that come up on the scoreboard which has more to do with the time that we run there than the actual racing surface. I think it’s cool that St. Louis gets a chance to show off with good atmospheric conditions. I also think it’s great that the people in this area get a chance to attend a Countdown race.”

John Force was second in Funny Car qualifying with a 4.060 at 308.35 and was followed by defending world champ Matt Hagan, who posted a 4.061 at 305.42 in his DSR Dodge Charger. Series points leader Ron Capps was sixth, covering the distance in 4.083 at 309.34.

Line set both ends of the Pro Stock track record in moving to the top of the order with a performance of 6.514 at 212.76 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro.

“All and all it was a good day for both of the Summit cars,” Line said. “We’re getting better with the new Camaro but we still have a ways to go. Greg (Anderson) is still a tick behind but at least we understand these cars and we know what to do to make them better. We had a fairly high barometer today which is great for Pro Stock. I felt like a 6.4 run was out there but none of us did that good of a job to get there. Tomorrow we won’t be quite that conservative.”

Series points leader and Dallas winner Allen Johnson was second in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger with a 6.516 at 212.76, while three-time season winner Erica Enders was third in her GK Motorsports Chevy Cobalt, posting a 6.519 at 211.83.

Arana Jr. set a track record time of 6.826 at 195.19 on his Lucas Oil Buell to lead Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying.

“This is my first time out here and it’s been great so far,” Arana Jr. said. “It’s really great but the most important thing is to be consistent and have success on Sunday. That’s what we’re gonna work on. We need to go rounds on race day. [Coming to a new track is] fun; it’s something new and different. That was what I went through at every race last year. It’s always fun to go to a new track and it gives you more knowledge. Every track is different and this one feels good so far.”

Hector Arana Sr. set a track speed record on his Lucas Oil Buell at 196.56 and was second overall with a time of 6.827. Series points leader Eddie Krawiec was third with a 6.839 at 194.77 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, while his teammate Andrew Hines was fourth with a 6.862 at 195.00 on his Harley-Davidson. Dallas winner Michael Ray was 12th with a 6.947 at 190.78 on his Viper Motorcycle Company Buell.

Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday’s eliminations start at 11 a.m.

Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the Inaugural AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, 20th of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and third of six races in the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s playoffs. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel — 1. Antron Brown, 3.737 seconds, 326.79 mph; 2. Spencer Massey, 3.752, 326.16; 3. David Grubnic, 3.773, 317.94; 4. Tony Schumacher, 3.775, 325.69; 5. Doug Kalitta, 3.795, 325.53; 6. Shawn Langdon, 3.799, 318.54; 7. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.837, 320.51; 8. Steve Torrence, 3.840, 318.92; 9. Bob Vandergriff, 3.840, 318.77; 10. Larry Dixon, 3.840, 314.90; 11. Terry McMillen, 3.887, 318.47; 12. Clay Millican, 3.893, 316.60. Not Qualified: 13. Keith Murt, 3.937, 303.84; 14. Pat Dakin, 3.968, 249.58; 15. Chris Karamesines, 3.974, 305.98; 16. Bruce Litton, 4.044, 233.12; 17. T.J. Zizzo, 4.379, 177.74; 18. Troy Buff, 6.799, 78.76; 19. Morgan Lucas, 6.867, 97.93; 20. Luigi Novelli, 7.194, 83.92; 21. Brandon Bernstein, 7.217, 79.81; 22. Tim Cullinan, 9.078, 68.57.

Funny Car — 1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.049, 308.85; 2. John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.060, 308.35; 3. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.061, 305.42; 4. Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.073, 309.70; 5. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.077, 309.63; 6. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.083, 309.34; 7. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.090, 312.06; 8. Jeff Arend, Toyota Camry, 4.095, 312.93; 9. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.100, 305.29; 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.115, 301.13; 11. Johnny Gray, Charger, 4.131, 304.60; 12. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.136, 301.20. Not Qualified: 13. Mike Neff, 4.138, 305.63; 14. Jim Head, 4.154, 304.46; 15. Dale Creasy Jr., 4.242, 287.53; 16. Todd Lesenko, 4.467, 205.63; 17. Peter Russo, 5.640, 129.08; 18. Alexis DeJoria, 6.926, 93.60; 19. Terry Haddock, 8.331, 82.22.

Pro Stock — 1. Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.514, 212.76; 2. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 6.516, 212.76; 3. Erica Enders, Chevy Cobalt, 6.519, 211.83; 4. Dave Connolly, Cobalt, 6.527, 211.99; 5. Vincent Nobile, Avenger, 6.530, 212.33; 6. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.533, 211.83; 7. Buddy Perkinson, Pontiac GXP, 6.536, 212.09; 8. Mike Edwards, GXP, 6.541, 212.26; 9. V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.548, 210.47; 10. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.553, 210.93; 11. Chris McGaha, Avenger, 6.553, 210.31; 12. Ron Krisher, GXP, 6.558, 211.20. Not Qualified: 13. Warren Johnson, 6.559, 210.37; 14. Jeg Coughlin, 6.569, 210.54; 15. Greg Stanfield, 6.578, 210.11; 16. Shane Gray, 6.585, 210.24; 17. Kurt Johnson, 6.618, 210.18; 18. Lewis Worden, 6.623, 207.69; 19. Steve Schmidt, 6.686, 206.89; 20. Mark Hogan, 6.688, 207.78; 21. Dave River, 6.755, 203.06; 22. John Gaydosh Jr, 6.921, 192.33.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.826, 195.19; 2. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.827, 196.56; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.839, 194.77; 4. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.862, 195.00; 5. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.882, 194.32; 6. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.886, 194.88; 7. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.886, 190.16; 8. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.888, 193.18; 9. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.899, 192.49; 10. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.912, 194.07; 11. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.929, 193.43; 12. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.947, 190.78. Not Qualified: 13. Jerry Savoie, 6.953, 192.06; 14. Matt Smith, 6.959, 191.02; 15. Mike Berry, 6.971, 190.22; 16. Michael Phillips, 7.000, 190.94; 17. Matt Guidera, 7.005, 189.36; 18. Wesley Wells, 8.948, 98.18; 19. John Hall, 13.448, 54.15.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, September 29 2012
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